Friday, February 18, 2011

Released hospital patients' many unhappy returns

Patients who are released from the hospital too early or without proper planning and instructions often wind up back in the hospital after a few days, a problem that's costly to taxpayers and distressing to patients.

A study released today calculated that reducing hospital stays by a single day for Medicare and Medi-Cal patients in California adds up to $227 million a year.

An estimated 81,000 Medicare patients in California - or 20 percent - end up back in the hospital within 30 days of being discharged for some reason related to the same condition, the study found.

"Right now, when you go to the hospital, it's the do-it-yourself model. It's up to you to figure out what to do," said David Grant, author of the study for the California Discharge Planning Collaborative, a group of labor, senior and other advocacy organizations.

Patients, especially those who are elderly and lack social support, are often readmitted because they don't understand their discharge instructions, fail to take their medications or have complications that they can't handle.

Click on the "via" link for the rest of the article.


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